"The Sound of Silence"
The Babylonians will one day fall. In fact, all powers of mankind will fall before God of heaven. "Let all the earth be silent...."
The Sound of Silence
A. Habakkuk has been frustrated as a prophet. He has seen his own people walk away from God and bring injustice upon the good in Judah. He cry to God was answered by God telling him that the Babylonians would invade Judah and overwhelm it. That was not the answer Habakkuk desired or expected. So he cries out to God, “How can you let a more wicked people swallow up a less wicked people?” For Habakkuk that didn’t make sense.
B. God again answered Habakkuk and said that in time God will deal with the wickedness of the Babylon, but to people of God, he tells Habakkuk, “The righteous shall live by faith.” God is not going to allow wickedness to last. In fact, the wrath of God will come upon the evil Babylonians and that is the lesson we consider today.
I. Evil Abounds
A. Let me ask you a question, “How does your view of God line up with how much evil there is in the world today?” We are quick to jump to the book of Job, to Paul’s writings, and give pat answers that don’t really give depth to the pain of the person who is facing the evil currently in their life.
B. C. S. Lewis, who offered perhaps the most articulate explanation of the problem of pain in the 20th century, saw his arguments fade in significance as he watched the onslaught of bone cancer in his wife’s body. Lewis said, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”
C. We live in a culture that says Christianity is one of many equally valid ways to God. But that is not true, Jesus tells is the He is the ONLY way to the Father. Our society calls us to tolerate sinful behavior and accept it as normal, but God’s word calls certain actions sin. I accept a person’s right to hold their view and our country may concede their actions are lawful, but I don’t call their actions true if it sin.
II. God’s Voice To Habakkuk
A. If you look at Hab. 2, you will find five “woes” recorded here. (see chart). God wants Habakkuk to know that even though He is raising them up to inflict punishment upon Judah, God will at one time bring His wrath upon them. Their destruction is sure. While they fall, there are still those who will remain faithful to God among the Jews.
B. God has an intent in all of this that is important for us to see today. Listen to Hab. 2:14. This verse has several layers of meaning. We know it was true in how God was seen in Babylon in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. We saw how it was true in the days of the ministry of Jesus that the land of Judah was filled with the knowledge of God. We see it true even today as the spread of the Gospel over the globe touches the heart and souls of men and women in every country.
C. This church hears parts of this message from our foreign and domestic mission works that we support and those whom we help to send as God’s light into the world.
D. It is contrast to the evil we see and often think abounds today. Babylon built its great cities and empire by the blood of slaves, but God is at work and his glory is being shared with millions. Just because I might be in the midst of pain due to evil and sinful behavior – either of my own doing or of wicked people – does not mean God is not still at work and his message still being proclaimed.
E. I don’t know how much Habakkuk lived to see, but we know God did deal with Babylon. That story is recorded for us in Daniel 5. Let me recap it for you.
III. Keep Silent
A. The ending of Hab. 2 gives us some profound words. (READ Hab. 2:18-20)
B. That last phrase has great meaning in it. God’s temple is not one made with human hands. The great temple build by Solomon but it fell to Babylon. The Temple of Ezra was not nearly as grand, but God honored it. The temple of Herod the Great that Jesus grew up seeing would end up destroyed in A.D. 70. BUT… The Lord is in His holy Temple.
C. Since God reigns above all and is greater than all, the only response from man to God is silence. There is an aspect of reverent submission that we have as we come before God who is the great Judge of all. We have no righteousness of our own to stand and speak, but a righteousness that comes from faith. Today, we can lift up in joyous praise our worship to God and that too is respectful submission.
D. Habakkuk is not about reverence silence, but reverence submission. God is worthy of my praise, my joy, and my laughter. God is worthy of my kneeling, my tears and sometime my silence.
A. God is the Great I AM. God is the self-existent One. God is Spirit and no gold covered box, not temple made with stone could or can hold Him. I come before God as child who adores their parent; with great love and respect. I seek to honor him by living by faith and seeking a life of obedience to His will and not my feelings.
B. Wicked abounds today. Yes it is often unfair, but that does not mean God is not at work doing a great thing and has a plan that is even greater for us. The end result is God will one day punish all the wicked eternally. As Paul and Peter teach us, we must endure now and look forward to the crown of righteousness.
C. Will you come before God humbly? Will you recognize His will as greater than yours? Understand that at least on Judgement Day when Jesus returns those who do not know God and those who do not obey the Gospel of Jesus will be condemned. That doesn’t have to be you. God is calling you to come to him this day. If you will hear his voice, please come as we stand and sing.
May God Bless You,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister